PORTLAND — Jason Potvin was standing outside the Nickelodeon Cinemas on Temple Street Monday night with a group of people who were waiting to buy tickets to “The Dark Knight Rises,” a movie Potvin has already seen twice since its release last Friday.
“It’s really scary,” Potvin said, referring to the theater massacre in Colorado that took place during a showing of the new Batman film.
“But is it going to stop me from going to a movie theater? The answer is no.”
Several other moviegoers echoed Potvin’s views, saying that the Colorado shootings aren’t likely to be repeated.
“What happened is horrifying but it doesn’t frighten me,” said Doug Horwich, who lives in Omaha, Neb. He was looking forward to seeing “The Dark Knight Rises” for the first time. “I believe it was a unique experience, an anomaly. It’s like getting on an airplane and worrying that your flight is going to crash.”
“You have to keep living your life even when something like this happens,” added Jennifer Kieffer, who also had not yet seen the movie.
While movie buffs mulled the implications of Friday’s massacre, theater managers tried to come up with ways to soften the blow the killings have had on the public’s psyche.
Smitty’s Cinemas, which operates theaters in Biddeford, Sanford and Tilton, N.H., announced it will hold a benefit this week to raise funds for the Aurora Theater Shooting Victims Fund.
Paul Timmons, a spokesman for Smitty’s, said admission profits for all 12 Wednesday evening shows of “The Dark Knight Rises” — at all three locations — will go toward the victims fund.
“We know that all of our fans have been hit by this story as hard as all of us here at Smitty’s, and we are looking forward to sending the biggest check possible to Colorado to show our community’s support,” Milton Smith, the owner of Smitty’s, said in a press release.
Bob Collins, a spokesman for Cinemagic Theaters, said his company’s theaters enforce a long-standing policy of not allowing backpacks, grocery bags or large bags to be carried into their theaters by patrons.
He declined to comment on whether the shootings had affected the number of people attending movies.
Collins said that a statement posted on Cinemagic’s website sums up the company’s reaction to the shootings.
“The safety of our patrons is and has always been of paramount importance to Cinemagic. As it has in the past, Cinemagic will continue to take all reasonable steps to provide a safe and wholesome environment for our valued moviegoers,” the statement reads.
At the Saco Drive-In, employees have been asked to pay closer attention to customers and their vehicles.
“I’ve told them, ‘If you are nervous at all, call the authorities,’ ” said General Manager Ry Russell. “But I don’t want to start any hysteria. The movies should provide an escape for people. I want them to feel safe.”
Portland Police Chief Michael J. Sauschuck said police officers respond to specific threats and do not get involved with managing theater security.
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: [email protected]